• Germany's news in English

Walking the Berlin Wall then and now

Anna Croall · 9 Nov 2009, 15:10

Published: 09 Nov 2009 15:10 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall crumbled. It was the climax of peaceful revolutions across Eastern Europe that would pave the way for German reunification and the spread of democracy across the continent.

The abrupt end to Berlin's three decades of physical division triggered great upheaval and the German capital continues to undergo change because of it to this day.

Click here for a photo gallery of the Berlin Wall then and now.

Many traces of the Wall were quickly destroyed, though some sections do still remain as poignant reminders of this painful period in German history. Watchtowers still stand at the corner of some quiet streets, parts of the Wall sit in apartment courtyards and memorials across the city remember the victims of the most tangible part of the Iron Curtain.

The Local explores five significance sites during Berlin's years of division.

Checkpoint Charlie


Friedrichstrasse Station

Story continues below…

Glienicke Bridge

The Brandenburg Gate

Related links:

Anna Croall (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

20:09 November 9, 2009 by andypeg123
I can fully understand why people were so keen to remove the remains of the wall and sweep something that was so hated from the landscape of a reunified city. I guess nothing could have given people more pleasure than seeing the structures fall before their eyes and the barrier across their city removed piece by piece. The fact that it is no longer there is a great thing- a triumph. But having followed the Wall trail that exists now for tourists I found it hard for me, a visitor to Berlin, to grasp the true horror of what it must have been like. The bits that survive are so isolated, rare and incomplete that I found it hard to get a true impression, especially the fact that the 'Front Wall' wasn't all there was but there was a whole strip of obstacles over a hundred yards thick. This isn't a plea to reconstruct any of it but to look after what has survived, because there is no greater testimony to the strength and determination of the people of Berlin than the wall they had to live with and that can only be seen to be believed when you see with your own eyes what the wall was and not just look at pictures.
21:29 November 9, 2009 by CJSweatt
@andypeg123: Very good comment! I completely agree with you.
21:41 November 11, 2009 by wood artist
The wall represents (represented) the ultimate conundrum. Preserving it helps future generations truly understand its significance and effect, making the history of the time come alive. However, it also provides a continual reminder of the times to those who had to deal with it then...constantly pushing the pain and anguish upon those who had already suffered.

Like others studying history, or visiting long after the fact, I sometimes wish it was still there...so I could see things as they really were. That's a selfish viewpoint, and I readily admit it. It would make my life easier, while doing exactly the opposite for far too many.

Fortunately, there are enough pictures, films, and other things left that I can piece together what I need, and I'm happy to see that so many Germans have been able to move on from those times. I wish everyone could, but I understand well the scars that remain.
Today's headlines
Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Eurowings braces as cabin crew union proclaims strike
Photo: DPA

A union representing cabin crew for Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings announced that strikes could take place at any time over the next two weeks, starting on Monday.

Mysterious German U-boat wreckage found off Scotland
Photo: ScottishPower

First World War U-boat "attacked by sea monster” thought to be found off Scottish coast.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd